The government upheld the needs of the commercial fisheries over Indigenous peoples’ subsistence. They wanted to ensure that investment in the fisheries were protected and that as many fish got to market as possible. As a result, the government used Indigenous peoples as a scapegoat for the decline of the northern fisheries.
This policy disregarded First Nations treaty rights and disrupted Indigenous traditional subsistence practices, leading to starvation. By restricting fishing rights of Indigenous peoples to ensure prosperity for commercial fisheries, the government was placing capitalist economic systems above Indigenous peoples health, well being, and livelihoods. Government regulation of fishing rights falls into a pattern of paternalistic assumptions that the crown knew better than Indigenous peoples regarding land and resource management.
Expansion of Commercial Fisheries